A survey conducted by Orange County’s toll road operator revealed what many residents already know: Traffic on Interstate 5 in south Orange County is congested and it needs to be fixed.
Out of four solutions offered in the survey, a majority of the respondents supported proposals to add lanes to I-5 and extend the 241 toll road south to the freeway, according to survey results the Transportation Corridor Agencies released Wednesday, Oct. 11.
“What we’ve learned is that doing nothing is not an option to people and what people expect us to do is work together to come up with solutions,” TCA CEO Michael Kraman said. “And that’s what we want to do, and we hope that this information would help bring others to the table to work towards the solution.”
However, San Clemente residents, who oppose the controversial option that would extend the 241 toll road through their beach town, questioned the survey’s intent.
“I don’t think it’s genuine,” said San Clemente Mayor Kathy Ward, who’s also a director on a TCA board. “I think their campaign is advocating a project (to extend the toll road) and not educating the public or getting public input.”
Here are some highlights of the survey, which was conducted by Sacramento-based SmithJohnson Research from Aug. 9 to 16 by phone with 1,590 Orange County residents:
- Four out of five respondents “often” encountered congestion while driving on I-5 in south Orange County.
- Nearly seven in 10 respondents believed population growth in the county, including the developing Rancho Mission Viejo, will have a “significant effect” on I-5 congestion.
- Fifty-five percent said doing nothing beyond what is currently planned for I-5 improvements is “not desirable.”
- Sixty-two percent said extending the 241 toll road south through foothills east of San Juan Capistrano, underneath Avenida La Pata and Vista Hermosa, crossing over Avenida Pico in San Clemente and onto I-5 is desirable or acceptable.